Def. The experience that you create for your customers and constituents.
Your brand is a promise you make about what your organization is and the benefits that come to mind whenever anyone encounters it. Brands elicit emotional responses that build trust and strong loyalties. When a brand is managed strategically the result is increased awareness and engagement for your organization.
Def. The visual expression of your brand.
This is how your brand’s image is conveyed. While brands speak to the heart & mind, brand identity appeals to the senses. The look & feel—logo, color, typeface, imagery and voice—of your identity must be strong and memorable to stand out among your competition. Great importance should be given to the consistent use of your identity across all communications.
Def. Opportunities to connect with your audience and reinforce brand values.
Brand touchpoints are every point of contact between you and your audience. This is the experience they have when they encounter you everywhere in the world—websites, print media, electronic communications, events and advertising. And it represents moment of activation, when you can motivate them to take action and invite them to engage with your organization.
“NACME ensures American competitiveness in a flat world by leading and supporting the national effort to expand U.S. capability through increasing the number of successful African American, American Indian, and Latino women and men in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and careers.”
As their statement of belief clearly articulates: “Diversity drives innovation.”
Our goal was to help NACME re-animate their mission and more clearly communicate the tremendous work they have been doing for almost 40 years to educate, advocate and fund minority students pursuing degrees in engineering.
NACME’s 40th anniversary was a major catalyst for the organization to re-assess how and what it was communicating to the world. As they prepared to celebrate four decades of success, the organization recognized that it was time to re-vitalize their brand so that it more accurately reflected the NACME vision.
As a forward thinking organization, the brand needed to project confidence, exuberance and innovation. It also needed to capture the attention of all constituents – students, educators, institutions of higher learning and corporate partners – elevating the conversation it could have through a more streamlined brand identity and activated brand touchpoints.
The organization was driven to initiate change. We started by helping to re-articulate NACME’s brand values, including refining their statements of purpose, vision and goals. This new language and attitude helped them embrace a more youthful, future-forward visual and tonal direction.
What we saw as their key assets were:
These were the opportunities we could build on to develop an identity that communicated its core truth.
There were three key ideas in their mission that we wanted to capitalize on in the brand identity.
1. Leading and supporting the national effort to expand U.S. capability
This was really critical to us in understanding NACME’s impact on the nation’s role as an innovation center and in producing highly skilled engineers to our workforce. The new brand identity had to communicate NACME’s energy, fresh-thinking approach and profound optimism.
2. Diversity drives innovation
This statement just about encapsulates who this organization is and what they stand for: the recognition that given the opportunity, these brilliant young minds will make great change in this world. To illustrate these values, our brand identity and touchpoints needed to showcase inclusiveness and, literally, brilliance.
3. Partnerships with like-minded entities
Partnerships are a cornerstone of NACME’s success. Without industry partners, advocates and mentors, NACME would not exist. We wanted to be sure to highlight these important relationships by creating a brand system that resonates with its broad universe of constituents with pride and distinction.
NACME brand refresh re-articulated their mission and re-activated their base. Re-energized, staff, board members and constituents became more engaged and excited about their mission and all of the great work they had done. Internally, the brand unified the organization by reinforcing their shared sense of purpose.
“The partnership between NACME and Ludlow6 spans decades. This broad knowledge of our organization was an invaluable asset when we undertook our 40th Anniversary brand refresh. Ludlow6 was able to offer in-depth insights and guidance through the entire process from the development of our brand statements right through to the application of our new brand image across all of our communication platforms.”
— Saundra Johnson Austin, BSCE, MBA
Senior Vice President for Operations, NACME